Basic turkey stock

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Making turkey stock is so simple, straightforward and delicious, that I have no clue why so few people make it for themselves. You simply toss the carcass and whatever bits are leftover from your feast into a pot with some veggies, herbs and spices and set it to simmer for about 4 hours.

You don't even have to do it right away. When I smoke up a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, I just toss the bones into a bag in the freezer until I have enough to make some stock.

Preparation Time:
30 minutes prep, 4 to 6 hours of simmering
Tools
  • 12 quart+ stock pot
  • fine mesh strainer

Ingredients

  • 10 quarts water (preferably tasty drinking water without chlorine)
  • Turkey carcass
  • giblets (other than the liver) if there are any left
  • a few scraps of dark meat if possible
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 sprig thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 12 whole peppercorns
Cooking Instructions
Brown the giblets if you haven't already for the gravy.

Put the carcass and giblets in the stock pot. Peel the garlic and chop the onions, celery and carrots into large pieces and add to the pot. Add the rest of the herbs and spices. Add enough water to cover everything by about 1 inch.

Heat the water till it is just simmering, around 190 F. Fiddle with the temperature to maintain that simmer without ever reaching a boil.

Check the water level and simmer every half hour. If the water is starting to get low, boil up some more in another pot and add it slowly to the stock.

After about 4 hours at a simmer, fish out a thigh bone, let it cool, then try breaking it. If most of the collagen has cooked out, it should be brittle enough to break easily. You now have stock!

I use a Chinese spider strainer to fish out all the big chunks in the stock, but if some other way works for you, go for it.

I put my next biggest pot in the sink with the fine mesh strainer sitting on it and move the stock pot next to the sink on a hot pad. I use a small pot to ladle the stock, through the strainer into the pot in the sink. Once that pot 3/4 full, I swap it for another pot. By this point the stock pot is low enough that I'm willing to pour it directly through the strainer.

With the strained stock in the pots, I fill the sinks with cold water almost to the level of the stock in the pots. About every 10 minutes, I drain the water and add more, then stir the stock again. This should quickly bring the temperatures down to 50-60 degrees where it is safe to put it in the refrigerator.

Once cooled, it should keep for at least a week in the fridge, or you can freeze some and it will keep for several months. I freeze some in cup and pint quantities, and the rest gets frozen in ice cube trays.

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This recipe sounds great,

This recipe sounds great, but I need the turkey stock before I have an available turkey carcass. I mean I need stock to cook with on Thanksgiving Day. I would like to make a large quantity, and would like it to be genuine turkey, not chicken flavored. Any recipes out there? Thanks!

Every now and then the meat

Every now and then the meat counter at the store I go to puts turkey necks and wings on sale - most people buy the breasts and legs. When I see these on sale in the store I pick them up and make turkey stock. Just ask the butcher in your local grocery and see if/when they will have some available - then follow the recipe above.

Like portlandpiper said,

Like portlandpiper said, check with your butcher about necks and wings. You can also get pretty good deals on thighs if you check around. I love white meat for most things, but I think dark meat is better in the soups. I'll smoke up a bunch, then cube it and freeze it for soup, and save the bones for stock.

The real trick for having turkey stock around for Thanksgiving is to celebrate Thanksgiving about 4 times a year. Isn't it kinda silly to only eat such a yummy meal only once each year? If you fee like having Thanksgiving in July, go for it.

Just wanted to say Hello to

Just wanted to say Hello to everyone.
Much to read and learn here, I'm sure I will enjoy !